Worst Legislator in California, Part ...

Worst Legislator in California, Part II: Charles Calderon Lets...

There are 488 comments on the LA Weekly story from Jun 1, 2011, titled Worst Legislator in California, Part II: Charles Calderon Lets.... In it, LA Weekly reports that:

State Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon, carry on a family tradition every Thanksgiving.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at LA Weekly.

Long Beach Observer

West Covina, CA

#344 Nov 14, 2013
Trash Talk wrote:
Calling for Calderon’s resignation was Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola, Downey Mayor Mario Guerra, Pico Rivera Mayor Pro-Tem Brent Tesoro, Bell City Councilman Ali Salah, Commerce City Councilman Denise Robles, Downey City Councilman Alex Saab, Bell City Councilman Nestor Valencia, Bell Gardens City Councilmembers Jennifer Rodriguez, Montebello Unified School Board Member Gerri Guzman, Central Basin Water District Director Leticia Vasquez, Pico Rivera Mayor Gustavo Camacho, South Gate Mayor Gill Hurtado.

“I want to thank our elected officials for coming out here and having the united voice asking for the resignation of Senator Calderon,” Garcia said.
Representing Montebello, ONE lame duck elected official????

Were the other elected officials ashamed of their close relations to yet another disgraced supporter of the proposed Montebello hillside condo abomination?

I can't believe the representatives of Downey and Bell Gardens, among others, weren't hit by lightning. Their cities were among those standing with the Calderons, Central Basin, and Jack Hadjinian, who were standing against the people of Los Angeles who wanted SB 1386.
Trash Talk

Woodland Hills, CA

#345 Nov 14, 2013
THEN from a Nov 8 post
http://financialservices.house.gov/media/file ...

complete link for testimony posted by Montebello Historian

Make the Gerri Guzman tie to Calderon and Pay day Loans

Gerri Guzman, a field representative for Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia and board member for Montebello Unified School District

Will the real Gerri Guzman please stand up!!!
World Traveller

Whittier, CA

#346 Nov 14, 2013
Here is the official list of supporters released by Cristina Garcia's office.


In Attendance:
Councilmember Jennifer Rodriguez, Bell Gardens
Councilmember Pedro Aceituno, Bell Gardens
Mayor Daniel Crespo, Bell Gardens
Mayor Mario Guerra, Downey
Councilmember Alex Saab, Downey
Mayor Luigi Vernola, Norwalk
Mayor Gil Hurtado, South Gate
Councilmember Denise Robles, Commerce
Mayor Gustavo Camacho, Pico Rivera
Councilmember Brent Tercero, Pico Rivera
Councilmember Ali Saleh, Bell
Councilmember Nestor Valencia, Bell
Director Leticia Vasquez, Central Basin
Board Member Gerri Guzman, Montebello Unified School District

Not in attendance but support:
Councilmember Cheri Kelly, Norwalk
Mayor Christina Cortez, Montebello


Presumably, many present were avoiding grounded metal in case of lightning.
S Franco

Woodland Hills, CA

#347 Nov 14, 2013
Bell Gardens Council meeting canceled- terrorist threat
via Facebook Comments to
"Serfio Infanzon is a nut.
He will not take losing well and all members of the Council should be concerned.
He acts like Bell Garden’s in a part of Mexico and ruled in such a manner.
I’m sure he’ll return as a member of Ron or Ian Calderon’s legislative staff or even Cristina Garcia’s.
Theses kind of guys don’t go away,
sort of like his good buddy Mario Beltran.
Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#348 Nov 14, 2013
from Post 337

City of Bell Gardens (** and there is a political connection to a current "LA City Councilman").

The now out-going Bell Gardens City Councilman Infanzon,
is a current staffer for CD 1 City Clowncil Central Committee Member Gil Cedillo
and was noted for being a Calderon supporter.
Trash Talk

Woodland Hills, CA

#349 Nov 15, 2013
note the weasel word THIS as in THIS investigation

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg today rejected a fellow senator's claim that he is the target of an FBI corruption investigation and said allegations in Sen. Ron Calderon's most recent court filing are "beyond the pale."

"I am not a target of this investigation,
I am not a subject of this investigation,"

Steinberg said in a talk with reporters outside the Capitol.

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/20...
Trash Talk

Woodland Hills, CA

#350 Nov 15, 2013

Political money needs a tighter rein
Contributions to campaign funds,'officeholder' accounts and other pots, typically by special interests, need tighter restrictions.

SACRAMENTO — In politics, there's sleaze that can send a slimeball to prison. There also is legal bribery. Lots of it.

"Campaign contributions provide a fig leaf for legalized bribery," says campaign finance expert Robert Stern, who helped write California's political reform act four decades ago.

"Ninety percent of campaign money comes from people who want something from government.
And often they get it. Nobody gives campaign money to incumbents who have no real [reelection] competitors without thinking they're getting something in return. Nobody wastes their money."

Legal campaign donations, however, do not equate to sleaze.

Putrid sleaze is what state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) is alleged to have wallowed in during an elaborate FBI sting, according to a federal affidavit disclosed last week by the Al Jazeera America cable network.

In the affidavit, the FBI alleged that Calderon took $88,000 in bribes, most of it from undercover agents.

Nevertheless, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) did the right thing Wednesday.

He took steps to remove Calderon from his Senate committee assignments, including chairmanship of the coveted Insurance Committee, a "juice" panel that attracts generous campaign donations.

The allegations against Calderon "cloud any interactions the senator might have with colleagues,[lobbyists] and the public," Steinberg said, calling the accusations "the most serious breach of the public trust."

True. And I'm not saying that legal bribery is as odorous as smelly sleaze. But it does tend to emit a stench.

Campaign money actually gets a bad rap, to one
Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#351 Nov 15, 2013

Former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, D-Montebello, has decided not to run.

Calderon-backed (Perez) candidate,

WHITTIER >> The race for an open state Senate seat in June 2014 — thanks to Sen. Ron Calderon being termed out — is beginning to take shape, with decisions by three former assembly members – two to run and a third not to.

Former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, D-Montebello, has decided not to run.
Former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia is campaigning hard, having already raised about $600,000.
Also in the race is former Assemblywoman Sally Havice, D-Cerritos.

Meanwhile, Irella Perez,(Calderon-backed candidate) who was elected to the Whittier City School District board of education, has announced her candidacy and she has the endorsements of Assembly members Ian Calderon, D-Industry, and Cristina Garcia, D-Artesia,
who represent much of the territory of the 32nd state Senate District.

Perez thinks she can overcome the odds, pointing to her endorsements by the two Assembly members and former state Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Whittier.

Tom Calderon, who is a former assemblyman and runs a public affairs business, said he decided not to run because he wants to spend more time with his family.
Tom’s brother, Ron Calderon, is under investigation for allegedly soliciting bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film producer.

Havice and Mendoza said Calderon’s decision will have no effect on their candidacies.

“It doesn’t change my game plan to what I need to do to get elected in June,” Mendoza said.
“My goal is to run for the Senate seat and with Calderon in the race or against a Calderon-backed (Perez) candidate, it’s all the same.
It doesn’t change my focus.”

Read the Story
Is Garcia still in yoke with Ian Calderon after her press conference?
Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#353 Nov 15, 2013

Dan Morain: The investigation into Ron Calderon isn’t happening in a vacuum

Steinberg had appointed Calderon to various committees; that’s part of a leader’s job.

On Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee, which Steinberg chairs, stripped the Montebello Democrat of his coveted Senate Insurance Committee chairmanship and other assignments. That, too, was appropriate.

Legislators are distancing themselves now.

But for more than a decade they enabled Calderon. Even if every word in the 124-page FBI affidavit is false,
insiders knew Calderon was skirting the law.

His proclivities became widely known in February 2004 when the San Francisco Chronicle exquisitely detailed how he spent his campaign money:
$1,200 on cigars,
$287 on women’s clothes and accessories,
a Christina Aguilera concert,
a trip to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to watch an Oscar De La Hoya fight.

The FPPC fined him in 2010 for failing to disclose “gifts” including spa treatments for his wife at Pebble Beach costing $1,077, courtesy of the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies.

Insiders understood Calderon was more of a glutton than other lawmakers.
But he also had a vote, basic barter in the Capitol bazaar.
That culture comes into clear focus in the closing days of legislative sessions when lawmakers decide hundreds of bills and raise millions of dollars.

Donors gave at least $6.6 million this August and September to legislators, legislative candidates and Democratic and Republican party committees, plus $480,000 to Brown, my reading of campaign finance data shows.

Calderon held an “end of session burger bash” at Chops, across from the Capitol.
He apparently didn’t raise much; the FBI had raided his office in June.
But he did collect $15,000 for his legal defense fund in August, including $5,000 from Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Contributors don’t donate because they believe in good government.
They owe a duty to their bosses, their companies, their unions and their shareholders.

Of course, they expect something in return.
Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#354 Nov 16, 2013
** Not to let a good political scandal go to waste, the
Assemblyman Mike Gatto Astro-turf Burbank Blog,

has attempted to link the likes of former La Canada Assemblyman, now State Senate Candidate Anthony Portatino, Bonnie Lowenthal and former City of LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to contributions from the infamous Pacifica Hospital in Long Beach, which gave major money to Tom Calderon.

Ron? Steinberg's law firm?
Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#355 Nov 16, 2013

Former Assemblyman and current LA City Councilman Gil Cedillo's Son Stays Silent On Role In Calderon Investigation

MONTEBELLO ( CBSLA.com )— The son of a Los Angeles City Councilman and former employee at a Southern California water district reportedly under federal investigation remained silent on his role in the federal probe Monday.

KCAL9′s political reporter Dave Bryan found Gilbert Cedillo Jr., the son of Councilman Gil Cedillo, at a meeting of the Montebello School District’s Personnel Commission, which he chairs.

Asked to comment on the investigation, Cedillo Jr. ducked out the back door of the school district headquarters with the help of a commission staff member who blocked the way.

Cedillo Jr. was employed as a business development manager two years ago by the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which is widely reported to be under scrutiny, along with State Sen.
Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) and his brother,
Tom Calderon, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Before Cedillo Jr. was hired by the water district, he was the chief of staff for then-Assemblyman Ron Calderon and senior field representative for former state assemblyman Tom Calderon.

“Gilbert Cedillo Jr. has played a major role in this particular situation with the FBI investigation,” said Randy Economy, editor of the Los Cerritos Community News, which has broken several stories about the investigation.

Among them was news that the FBI is looking into Cedillo Jr.’s role in a possible corruption scheme, in which companies looking to Sen. Ron Calderon for help securing state contracts may have funneled political contributions and gifts to him through a middle man.

We do know that FBI investigators have been at the Central Basin Water District for probably I know at least one week, if not two weeks where they’ve set up camp there at the office to go ahead and pull documents and interview employees,”
said Economy.“It’s a wide-ranging probe.”

Cedillo Jr. was hired as a business development manager two years ago for the Southern California water district despite evidence that he lacked the required degree for the position.

Along with Cedillo Jr.’s nearly $113,000 salary, the district also agreed to pay Azusa Pacific University more than $22,000, so Cedillo Jr. could get the appropriate degree.
His position was created when he was hired and abolished when he left at the end of July.


Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#356 Nov 16, 2013
Editorial: Calderon’s effort to play the victim is just pathetic

Read more here:

Calderon Watch

Woodland Hills, CA

#357 Nov 17, 2013
November 15, 2013

Steinberg had ties to law firm that represented younger Drobot

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, worked for a law firm representing the son of a health care executive linked in an FBI affidavit to Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello.

In response to a leaked FBI affidavit charging that Calderon had accepted $28,000 in bribes from Michael D. Drobot, formerly the CEO of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, Calderon's attorney sought to deflect blame this week in a court filing claiming that Steinberg was the true target of the investigation given his "financial activities" with Drobot.

On Thursday, Steinberg repudiated Calderon's allegations, calling them "beyond the pale" and saying he had "no relationship" with Drobot, outside of the fact that the prolific Democratic donor had attended Senate Democratic fundraisers.

But Michael D. Drobot has a son, Michael R. Drobot, who is currently being represented in an insurance fraud case by a law firm, Roxborough, Pomerance, Nye, & Adreani, that Steinberg listed as a source of income in a filing covering 2012. Steinberg is an "attorney of counsel" for the firm, according to the filing, and received between $10,001 and $100,000 in 2012.

Attorneys from the firm are representing the younger Drobot in a lawsuit California's State Compensation Insurance Fund brought against both Drobots, father and son, earlier this year alleging "a broad and multi-faceted plan to defraud State Fund in connection with the submission and collection of fraudulent insurance bills."

Yesterday Steinberg admitted the conflict of interest and belatedly resigned from the law firm.

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/#s...
Calderon Watch

Woodland Hills, CA

#358 Nov 17, 2013
Nonprofits tied to legislators collect cash out of public view
A federal allegation that California state Sen. Ron Calderon tried to hide a bribe in his brother's nonprofit shines light on 'a huge loophole.


Californians for Diversity,
Yes We Can, California Legislative Latino Caucus
Calderon Connection

SACRAMENTO — A federal allegation that state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon tried to hide a $25,000 bribe in a charity run by his brother has shed light on the use of nonprofits by California legislators to collect cash out of public view.

Some nonprofits, set up with the stated purpose of aiding a charitable or social cause, are also being used to benefit an elected official's career, public image or personal finances, say advocates for open government.

Several current and former California politicians or their relatives have established nonprofits in recent years. Some spent more money on travel, meals or entertainment than on direct assistance to their causes, according to their tax filings.

"This has become a huge loophole," a way to skirt campaign finance laws, said Jessica Levinson, an elections law professor at Loyola Law School.

Nonprofits like the one cited in the Calderon case allow politicians to collect contributions from special interests without having to abide by the $4,100 limit on campaign contributions in legislative races. And unlike political accounts, they are not required to identify their donors.

In addition, they can be vague in reporting on their tax returns how they spend their money. Nonprofits disclose expenditures in broad categories such as "travel," "meals" and "meetings" without noting the purpose of the expense or who benefited.

Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello, allegedly accepted $60,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as a studio executive in exchange for pursuing legislation to expand tax breaks for film companies, according to a sealed FBI affidavit made public by a cable network.

The agent agreed to pay $25,000 of the money to a nonprofit set up by the senator's brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, says the affidavit released by Al Jazeera America.

"We have this nonprofit. It is called Californians for Diversity," Calderon told the agent, according to a transcript of a recording included in the document.

The group, Calderon said, was set up to advocate positions on issues being debated in California.

"Then Tom and I down the road, we build that up, we can pay ourselves," the senator allegedly told the agent. "Just kind of make, you know, part of [a] living."

Donations to nonprofits are disclosed by the giver in certain circumstances.

Walmart, Cash Advance Centers of California and the Farmers Employees and Agents PAC all reported making contributions to Californians for Diversity during the last two years.

The nonprofit, formed in 2008, also received $25,000 from "Yes We Can," a political committee of the California Legislative Latino Caucus, which made the donation in January.

The FBI affidavit alleges the "Yes We Can" donation was arranged by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) "in exchange for Ronald Calderon agreeing not to challenge Senator [Ricardo] Lara to become the Chairman of the Latino Caucus."

"They are doing exactly what contribution limits are there to guard against," said Levinson, a member of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.

Calderon and De Leon have denied wrongdoing. None of those named in the affidavit has been charged with a crime.

Californians for Diversity was formed to "educate, inform, support and focus the California voters on the 'bread and butter' issues of California," including jobs and schools, according to its latest tax filing.
Calderon Watch

Woodland Hills, CA

#359 Nov 17, 2013
In 2010, its tax records show, the nonprofit spent $29,101 —$21,500 of it on travel, food and beverages.

In 2011, the last year for which a tax filing was available, the group spent $56,049, with $11,006 going to civic donations. Slightly more was spent on travel or entertainment for public officials ($11,500). Other expenses included conferences and meetings ($5,742), polling ($5,000) and compensation to Tom Calderon ($2,500).

The leaked affidavit alleges that the nonprofit paid $5,000 to a Tom Calderon consulting firm this year.
Theolona Ranger

Woodland Hills, CA

#360 Nov 18, 2013
Crime Scene: Weeding out the rats in the corruption corridor

By Frank Girardot, Pasadena Star-News

State Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a Bell Gardens Democrat, arranged the event.
As she put it: enough is enough when it comes to the assortment of alleged crooks, bag men and sleazeballs that have represented the tiny communities sandwiched between the Los Angeles River and the Long Beach Freeway.

“All of us have seen firsthand what scandal and corruption has done to our communities,” she said.“We’ve seen how our citizens have lost faith and trust in their own government.
Though we have been working diligently to regain the public’s trust and move our cities forward, the dark cloud that this case puts us under, puts our work in jeopardy.”

• John Noguez, former mayor of Huntington Park, awaits trial in a corruption scheme that involved fixing property taxes for friends.

WHAT ARE JACK HADJANIANS TIES TO NOGUEZ, and Senator De Leon et all??? And the Calderons?

Senate Rules Committee.
There, with little discussion,
a group of four senators stripped Calderon of his power to raise money, while making it very clear they were not judging him.

They also said they were shocked that a member of the august body that is our state Senate could be linked to such egregious corruption allegations.
The outrage came off as if it had been scripted for “Casablanca.”

Shocked- Shocked Theolona ranger from Casablanca

Not so with Garcia and her cohorts. Each said they hope to turn things around in their communities by eliminating corruption and impropriety. There was no shock, just anger.

Downey’s City Council took a step in that direction by voting 5-0 Tuesday for a resolution calling for Calderon to resign.

Perhaps someday soon we’ll be calling the corruption corridor the sunshine corridor. First, it’s up to the FBI to get rid of the real rats.

Frank C. Girardot is the editor of the Pasadena Star-News.
Trash Talk

Woodland Hills, CA

#361 Nov 19, 2013
Steven Greenhut1Nov. 18, 2013

Scandal sparked by Capitol's high stakes

Big money naturally flows to big and powerful government

While at the center of a scandal involving five U.S. senators accused of improperly muscling regulators on his behalf, disgraced savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating memorably explained his view of campaign contributions.

“One question among the many raised in recent weeks had to do with whether my financial support in any way influenced several political figures who took up my cause,”
he told the media in 1989.“I want to say in the most forceful way that I can, I certainly hope so.”

California legislators and political observers are shocked (or at least pretend to be) by the allegations revealed in an FBI affidavit involving state Sen. Ron Calderon, the Montebello Democrat accused of accepting $88,000 in bribes from a federal agent posing as a movie executive and from a hospital official seeking to influence workers-compensation legislation.

Businesses obviously make large contributions to influence government, just as Keating admitted. The allegations at issue in Sacramento go beyond “honest” fund-raising, but everyone in the state Capitol knows the ugly side of politics given how much is at stake when a government with huge budgets and enormous powers flexes its muscle.

Al Jazeera America’s report on the federal undercover operation has sent some of the state’s savviest politicians scurrying.

As the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Morain noted, legislators were long aware of Calderon’s fund-raising flamboyance — and basically enabled him, but you’d never know it from their reactions.

The Senate booted Calderon from his committees. The Latino Caucus booted him from its executive board.
Calderon claimed that Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was the real target of the investigation and that the feds leaked the information after Calderon refused to wear a wire. Steinberg adamantly denies that claim.

Steinberg is now proposing caps on the money legislators can raise in non-election years, presumably to cut back on their never-ending fund-raising activities that consume legislators.

But one possible result, critics say, would be that legislators will be more desperate than ever as they cram an entire election term worth of fund-raising efforts into one year.

That proposal is a watered-down variation of one floated by Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and former head of the Fair Political Practices Commission, which polices campaign law.
Schnur’s idea was to ban fund-raising while the Legislature is in session.
“It’s not just symbolism,” he told me. "
It’s a question of voter confidence in the system.”

But he agrees that “the higher you raise the stakes the harder people will work to get around the rules.”
In other words, the ultimate problem may not be a lack of moral rectitude by some legislators or sufficient campaign-finance rules —
but a government that dispenses so many favors that favor-seekers such as Keating will pay handsomely to get a piece of the action.

Greenhut is the California columnist for U-T San Diego.
Montebello Historian

Rosemead, CA

#362 Nov 19, 2013

"...In other words, the ultimate problem may not be a lack of moral rectitude by some legislators or sufficient campaign-finance rules —
but a government that dispenses so many favors that favor-seekers such as Keating will pay handsomely to get a piece of the action."

Now explain the reason for campaign donations to me again?
Wonder why

Los Angeles, CA

#363 Nov 19, 2013
This is all Joe Montoya "El Bandido" and Alan Robbins Sacramento scandal again. Didn't both of those Big Boys end up serving time? Note that Montoya was from our district. There's been plenty of publicity about the Calderon carryings on for years now. The big question is why Montebello and other home district voters didn't put an end to the Calderon party years ago. Another question is why a certain Montebello City Councilmember felt the need to head off to Sacramento to back the Calderon and Central Basin position against SB1386 (which passed overwhelmingly anyway). Central Basin was so grateful for his efforts that they reimbursed him $37.00 for "transportation". Well, some people make it big, some make it small. Guess every penny counts.
Montebello Historian

Rosemead, CA

#364 Nov 19, 2013
Wonder why wrote:
This is all Joe Montoya "El Bandido" and Alan Robbins Sacramento scandal again. Didn't both of those Big Boys end up serving time? Note that Montoya was from our district. There's been plenty of publicity about the Calderon carryings on for years now. The big question is why Montebello and other home district voters didn't put an end to the Calderon party years ago. Another question is why a certain Montebello City Councilmember felt the need to head off to Sacramento to back the Calderon and Central Basin position against SB1386 (which passed overwhelmingly anyway). Central Basin was so grateful for his efforts that they reimbursed him $37.00 for "transportation". Well, some people make it big, some make it small. Guess every penny counts.
Paul B. Carpenter served prison time from 1994 to 1999, "Jumpin' Joe Montoya (I worked his campaign for La Puente City Council) and Alan Robbins also got five-year sentences.

Also, let us never forget their partners in crime Assemblymen Pat Nolan and Frank Hill.

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